How to Stain Deck with Solid Acrylic Deck Stain

Tips on Deck Staining with Cabot’s Solid Acrylic Deck Stain

By Mark J. Donovan

One of the first projects I recently tackled in our new home was to re-stain the deck. The deck was constructed using 2×6 pressure treated lumber as the decking boards. Though not necessarily my decking material of choice, the deck boards were structurally sound. I expect I will end up replacing the deck altogether in the next couple of years so staining the deck will help with the deck aesthetics in the mean time. The only real issue with the deck was the old deck stain. Due to a rusting-out chimney cap, the deck had a large ugly orange stain patch on its surface.

In addition, a solid deck stain was used and it appeared the deck had not been stained for several years as there was some flaking and chipping.

Fortunately the previous owner had left a can of the old deck stain around. It was a can of water based Cabot solid acrylic deck stain, an overall excellent deck stain product.

The weather had been ideal for a number of days prior to staining the deck. The weather had been rain free for several days and the hot summer sun had really dried out the deck. It’s imperative that the decking lumber moisture level be below 15% prior to staining it according to Cabot. The forecast had also looked good for the next several days.

Preparing Deck for Staining

A couple of days prior to applying the solid acrylic deck stain I swept the deck thoroughly and applied a deck cleaner to the deck surface using a sprayer. The deck cleaner removed algae and mold that had become embedded into the deck surface. It also helped to overall brighten up the deck a bit, and in my particular case remove some of the orange rust stain that had become impregnated into some of the decking boards.

Best Method for Appling Deck Stain

I’ve found over the years the best way to apply a solid acrylic deck stain is the old fashion way, using a 4 inch natural bristle brush.

Its back breaking as it takes significantly longer to apply the deck stain in this fashion, however the deck stain holds up much longer to the weather elements. A brush really helps to work the stain into the wood compared to using a roller.

When applying deck stain it’s also important to start nearest the home and work your way outwards in such a way that you don’t paint/stain yourself into a corner. With my particular deck there were no deck railings to stain. For those decks that do have deck railings it is advisable to stain them first, particularly when using a solid deck stain. This way there are less concerns of dripping stain onto a freshly stained deck surface.

Another helpful tip when staining a deck is to mix cans of deck stain together if your deck requires more than one can of deck stain.

This way you can be assured to have one common color of deck stain when staining the deck. You’d be surprised how cans of stain with the exact color stain formula can have slight differences in color tone variations. It only takes a fraction of a second longer for a paint/stain store clerk to add a bit too much of a pigment to the base stain to cause two theoretically like cans of stain to have a slight difference in color.

How to Stain Deck with Solid Acrylic Deck Stain

After staining a deck allow at least 24 hours for the stain to fully dry prior to walking on it. Again, also make sure before staining a deck that the weather forecast shows no signs of rain for at least 24 hours after staining the deck.

Clean Up after Staining a Deck with Water Based Acrylic Solid Deck Stain

With Cabot’s water based acrylic based solid stain clean up is a breeze. I simply cleaned my brush out with some soapy water, rinsed it with clean water, shook out the water, and then hung it out to dry.

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